Brightness for breezy days Penneys autumn/ winter collection has a grown- up edge
This autumn- winter collection has an edgy, grown- up style, from workwear to woollies, writes Deirdre McQuillan
Landing right now in Penneys’ bigger stores are some standout affordable pieces for autumn/ winter. Notable this season are the rich textures and colours, tweedy old- school jackets, feminine embellishments of lace, sequins, embroidery and everywhere you look: the colour red.
“Penneys/ Primark imagery has always gone in a very youthful direction, but I wanted to take it in a more elevated direction, in a more grown- up, polished way for a fashion- conscious working woman,” says leading stylist Sinéad Keenan who put these looks together.
“She’s the person who doesn’t necessarily fit the festival/ party brief but, particularly in the Irish market, is someone who looks for wardrobe staples like denim, trouser suits, tailoring, outerwear and knitwear. My idea was to show all of that and what Penneys has to offer in a fun way but stylish.”
Key pieces highlighted at media presentations are often harder to find later in the vastness of the stores with their dizzying rails of clothes.
“I am not a trend person, but there has to be a thread in the story – I don’t like random fashion imagery . . . When you are selling a lifestyle, there has to be a hook – like a way with colour in the knitwear – a shot of colour particularly for autumn/ winter when we get so consumed by black, navy and grey. Because it is fun fashion, you can make it look grown up,” she says.
Her stylist hand shows in different ways. The dramatic effect of the scarf worn with the bell- sleeved coat, for example, was created by tying two scarves together. Tossing a salmon- coloured coat over the red trouser suit was a way of muting the effect of the red, paring it back. The bold biker jacket gets a feminine touch with the addition of a tulle skirt. A colourful oversize sweater dress under a tweed jacket could easily be worn, she says, with jeans or leggings. Keenan’s i mpressive track record speaks for itself. An interest in art and design, and a strong love of fashion led her to study Fashion and Textile Design at Coláiste Íde, after which she attended NCAD to specialise in fashion design. I n 19 9 3 sh e j oined Brown Thomas’s visual merchandising and display team and she was its in- house fashion stylist for nearly 10 years, responsible for the production and styling of fashion shows as well as directing and styling the store’s commercial and editorial fashion shoots.
In 2003, she left to spread her wings and to broaden her client list which has included working with Brown Thomas, Louise Kennedy, Chanel, Peter O’Brien ( for Arnotts), Avoca, Kildare Village and Carraig Donn to name a few. She has also styled celebrities Jodie Kidd, Donna Air and the Corrs for MTV Unplugged and was a contributing stylist on Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.
As to her own style, she says that being a curvier woman, she likes to balance out her own l ook with chunkier s hoes and peg- shaped trousers – usually from Cos.
“I shop around because I don’t fit into a lot, but particularly as you get older, I am confident in my decisions. I know what women would like to see and how Irish women buy so I try to represent that – by mixing from the high street and elsewhere – shopping broadly.” For this shoot, however, she was clear about what s he wanted t o do: “t o s ee Penneys/ Primark in a different light and not just clothes for nightclubs and festivals or shirts for work”.
Opposite page: Pink coat ¤ 40, red double- breasted jacket ¤ 25 Above, from left: Red ruffle coat ¤ 40, multi- colour scarf ¤ 8; jumper ¤ 25, velvet skirt ¤ 14, boots ¤ 25; faux fur sleeve aviator jacket ¤ 35, pink mesh overlay dress ¤ 14, cropped jeans ¤ 19; faux shearling coat ¤ 30, one- shoulder knit ¤ 16, cropped jeans ¤ 19 Left, from far left: Faux fur coat ¤ 45, Fairisle jumper ¤ 18; check coat ¤ 40, colour- block knitted dress ¤ 20; ruffle coat ¤ 40, colour- block jumper ¤ 18; padded zip- hem parka ¤ 35, cable jumper ¤ 20, sequin clutch ¤ 12